Former Inmarsat exec joins Avanti; Hylas 4 launch

Chris McLaughlin, formerly Inmarsat’s CMO (until January this year), has joined London-based speciality satellite operator Avanti Communications, as a non-executive director, effective September 1st.

Avanti also formally confirmed that the launch window for its much-delayed Hylas-4 satellite opens on March 1st 2018. The company originally promised the satellite would launch in “early 2017”. The launch will be handled by Arianespace, from Kourou in French Guiana.

Avanti says that its Hylas 4 satellite will now essentially use chemical propellant for its initial orbit-raising, and will therefore be in orbit somewhat earlier than the originally planned electric-propulsion orbit raising which is a slower process.

“The intended launch configuration of the new Launch Slot agreed means extra chemical fuel is able to be loaded on board the satellite, due to pairing with a lighter partner spacecraft than originally planned,” says Avanti. “This enables chemical only propulsion to be employed whereby the satellite reaches geostationary orbit in just 10 days, saving approximately 90 days of electric orbit raising.  Hylas 4 can therefore reach its on station location by the middle of March 2018. The launch configuration also provides a lower mission risk profile, with sufficient fuel able to be embarked to support the satellite for up to 19 years in orbit, an increase of 27 per cent over previous expectations.”

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